The Marriage Disaster

This is a great opinion piece I came across to day showing the fallacy behind the “protecting the institution of marriage” used against so many groups, most pointedly gays, but also against multiple-partner marriages such as polyamory or polygamy.  As the author points-out, if the State really is interested in following some Biblical ideal of marriage, gays would be allowed to marry as so would polygamy also be legal and there would be legal ramifications for a marriage failing.


First of all, we have to acknowledge that getting married is a privelege, not a right. The state does not issue licenses for things that are a right – i.e. I do not receive a state issued freedom of speech license, a right to happiness license, or a license to practice religion or a birth license. But I do have the ability to apply for  a license to drive, a license to vote, and a license to marry – these are priveleges granted by the state.  It is a right and as such limiting it’s application to certain citizens demands a high bar – i.e. they must be non-citizens, criminal, mentally incapacitated, or in some other way incapable of properly handling the license.

In the case of voting and driving for instance, the state checks a few criteria – my citizenship, my criminal record, and specifically in the case of driving my skill.  The state has a vested interest when issuing a driver license to ensure that I do not cause accidents or fatalities.  Given that nearly 50% of marriages die in America – ending in divorce  – were the state to issue driver licenses with the same rate of “fatal crashes” we would declare state of emergency and demand an overhaul. Marriage as a “sacred institution” that must be “protected” is a bit of a farce, considering the statistics of how many end in disaster. If marriage was an airline, you wouldn’t buy a ticket on it.  If it was a presidential candidate, it would almost lose to divorce.  If marriage was a surgeon you wouldn’t let it near you with a knife, given the rate of failure.

It’s pretty clear that the state is not really interested in protecting the institution of marriage, or steps would have been take to keep the success rate of the licenses much higher – there would be criminal or financial penalties for defaulting on the license or marriage vow, if there was truly an interest in protecting the institution, rather than accommodating people on a case-by-case basis.  I.e., if the supporters of Prop-8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act – both laws that limit the rights of homosexuals to marry – were really motivated by a desire to protect the institution of marriage, rather than motivated by unevolved fear and power-grabs, they would also introduce laws criminalizing divorce.

To be clear, I am NOT advocating for criminal penalties for those who seek divorce, but simply making the point that to protect an institution by making marriage illegal for some, while allowing others to divorce, is beyond hypocritical, and those who support Prop-8 and other similar legislation should also be advocating for the criminalization of divorce in order to further use the law to, as they say, “protect the traditional institution of marriage”.

But that’s okay, because “protect the institution” is not the point of issuing a license. There’s really no institution left to protect.  An institution with a failure rate of nearly 50% is no longer sacred, protected, or successful, or really much an institution.  The argument that the state must protect the institution by preventing certain classes of citizens from marrying falls apart on a casual examination of the reality of what the state is doing – issuing licenses to anyone who meets certain criteria such as passing blood tests, non-relation, and certain body parts. There’s no profiling to determine if these people will be a “credit to the institution” as evidenced by the fact that half of the licenses issued are to people who turn out to not have the ability to successfully carry out the action that the license demands.  It’s like half of the people with hunting licenses accidentally shooting their hunting partners in the head.

Read the full piece here

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